By Lisa Bourne
A southwest Florida pregnancy help center has gained notice for making a difference in women’s lives, helping them to choose life and saving lives through Abortion Pill Rescue®.
The Community Pregnancy Clinic of Sarasota, part of a group of pregnancy help organization’s (PHOs) and a Heartbeat International affiliate, was profiled recently by EWTN’s Pro-Life Weekly program for its work serving women and their children in the shadow of Planned Parenthood’s Sarasota facility.
Two clients from the Community Pregnancy Clinic shared their stories of how the clinic served them – including saving one mom’s twins through APR and giving another mom a new start at life with her baby daughter.
Erica Pompey had similar circumstances to other pregnant, unmarried mothers when she came to the pregnancy medical clinic.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was distraught,” Pompey said, “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to tell my mom.”
“I thought my parents were mad at you mad at me,” she said, “you know, unwed young, right?”
Pompey also experienced the same feeling of having no choice but abortion in her situation.
“I knew deep down, I didn’t want to … have an abortion, but that was the first thing that came to mind,” said Pompey. “Oh, I can’t have this baby.”
However, program host Catherine Hadro told viewers, Pompey’s story has a happy ending.
“Miss Genesis,” Pompey stated announcing her daughter’s name. “I got her name from the first book of the Bible, and Genesis is such a heavy meaning for me.”
“She’s my new beginning,” Pompey said. “It gives me a chance to do things right, to start over.”
Interestingly, Genesis was born on Easter Sunday of last year, and Pompey, 22 when her daughter was born, thanks her mother’s support and the support from the staff and volunteers and Community Pregnancy Clinic as well.
Pompey got her first look at her daughter from an ultrasound performed at the clinic, plus another meaningful gesture from a clinic volunteer.
“At the end, we were getting ready to leave,” Pompey recounted. “Carol prayed with me.”
“That was, that was amazing,” she said. “That was life changing. I knew then that that’s my lifetime friend.”
Pompey said she texts daily or every other day with the clinic’s volunteer with pictures and updates, and she still receives support from the clinic a year after her first visit.
The Community Pregnancy Clinic sits adjacent to the state’s largest Planned Parenthood abortion facility and Hadro said the pregnancy medical clinic staff likens their proximity to the abortion giant to a David and Goliath dynamic.
Pam Stenzel, Senior Regional Clinic Director for Community Pregnancy Clinics and pro-life speaker, spoke about how the Sarasota location for the pregnancy help medical clinic can be strategically lifesaving.
“We were able to get this little, tiny gray house, literally in the shadow of Planned Parenthood,” Stenzel said. “And it’s that attempt to be that last minute chance.”
“If that girl, just before she walks in there (Planned Parenthood), is willing to say [okay to], ‘Hey, we’ll do an ultrasound for free. We’ll give you this help for free, we’re right there,’” said Stenzel. “And we can intervene in that very last second with young women.”
Hadro explained how sidewalk counselors regularly inform abortion-minded women headed for Planned Parenthood about the pregnancy help center nearby, and she said the clinic is equipped with an ultrasound and an ultrasound van to travel to women in need.
The Community Pregnancy Clinic had also established Mary’s House in a small home next door intended to serve as a counseling and educational center for new moms.
Hadro pointed out too that everything clients receive from the pregnancy medical clinic, from pregnancy and STI tests, to new clothes for their babies, is entirely free.
Rachelle Metheny also told her story of being served by the Community Pregnancy Clinic.
Metheny experienced shock upon learning she was pregnant, was given incorrect information about her pregnancy by Planned Parenthood, turned in desperation to the abortion pill and have a doubly life-giving experience through Abortion Pill Rescue.
“When I found out I was pregnant, it was a complete shock,” she said.
“I wasn’t in a relationship, there were multiple factors going on in my life to where I didn’t feel like I was ready, or couldn’t take on a child at the time,” she explained. “So, it was just a lot of things that were piling on.”
Feeling overwhelmed, Metheny went to a local abortion facility.
“I actually had an ultrasound at the abortion clinic,” she said, “and there’s a story to this.”
“They had told me within five seconds, ‘You only have one in there,’” Metheny recalled.
She decided to take the abortion pill, and like countless other women she regretted the decision. Metheny researched online and learned it was possible to reverse the effects of that first abortion pill. After a few minutes she saw that there were pregnancy help centers nearby that could help her.
Community Pregnancy Clinic was there with support and APR.
“So, I called a number at 3:16 in the morning,” Metheny recounted … “And talked to someone … Yes, yes. And they were, it’s a 24-hour line, they were able, able to help instantly.”
Mary Kuziel is a registered nurse and volunteer for Community Pregnancy Clinic.
She explained how the abortion pill reversal protocol involves prescribing progesterone, the natural hormone in a mom’s body necessary to sustain pregnancy.
“When they take the first (abortion) pill, if they’re able to decide that they don’t want to go through with it (the chemical abortion), that they can call the hotline number,” said Kuziel.
“And then get in contact with a nurse, get in contact with a doctor, get the progesterone that they need to take, come in for an ultrasound, and make sure that, everything will progress in a more positive way,” she said.
The Community Pregnancy Clinic is part of the Abortion Pill rescue Network (APRN) made up of approximately 900 rescue providers and centers who facilitate Abortion Pill Rescue®.
Chemical abortion is a two-pill process; the first pill is mifepristone (or RU-486), which blocks progesterone receptors and reduces progesterone levels in the mom’s blood, destabilizing her pregnancy.
The second pill in the chemical abortion process, misoprostol, is taken a day or so after the first to complete the abortion by inducing labor.
If a mom acts quickly after taking the first abortion pill and begins the APR protocol, it may be possible to save her unborn child.
Statistics show that more than 1,000 lives have been saved thanks to the APRN.
After starting the abortion pill reversal protocol, Metheny came to the Community Pregnancy Clinic for her follow-up ultrasound and received unexpected, wonderful news.
“When I came into this clinic,” Metheny said, “they told me instantly, they were like, ‘You’re having twins,’ which was a complete to me, complete shock.”
“So not only had I saved one life,” she said, “not only was one life important to me, but I found out that there were two … two … yeah.”
Kuziel spoke of the clinic’s approach to serving women.
“We really want the best for them in every way possible,” she said. “Physically, mentally, spiritually.”
“It makes you so happy,” added Kuziel. “You know, love is repaid by love alone. So, to help these people, and then to see the results just becomes such a way to keep going.”
With the support she received from the Community Pregnancy Clinic Metheny was reaffirmed in choosing life for her unborn children.
“And I know I’m meant to be a mother,” she said. “I’ve known it for many, many years.”
“It’s a great dream of mine, but it just, at the time, there were so many things coming against me, and I didn’t really have the support that I needed,” Metheny continued.
“The emotional support was the best of all,” she said of her experience with Community Pregnancy Clinic, “because you never know who’s walking into the clinic. You don’t know if they don’t have some form of support from their mother, father, extended family, their friends, you don’t know how alone they could be.”
“And they really, really seem to care,” she said of those who served her at the pregnancy help medical clinic. “They gave me more emotional support than anyone else in my life.”